Observations on life

The American Public and Extreme Policy Positions

The American Public and Extreme Policy Positions by Frank Newport

Both Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz — strange bedfellows indeed — agree that the body of which they are members, the U.S. Senate, is dysfunctional and under the control of errant powers. Both men want the system changed so that senators act in ways that directly represent all the people, an idea that certainly fits well with American public opinion. Americans’ trust and confidence in government are at or near record lows, and the public would welcome almost anything that would shake up Congress and move it toward being a more effective and efficient entity.

The problem with most revolutions, however, is figuring out what happens once change is brought about. Sanders and Cruz certainly have core convictions on that front. The former argues that the people, once they wrest control away from an all-powerful wealthy elite in this country, would gratefully opt for a major ramping up of government involvement in solving the nation’s problems and creating a better life for all of its citizens.

Cruz argues that the people, once they take control back from party bosses and the party establishments, would just as gratefully advocate a major disassembling of government in an effort to severely reduce its influence and power. Both of these polar opposite convictions are decidedly out of sync with public opinion.

That may not matter to Sanders and Cruz, who — like many revolutionaries — are convinced that they know best, even if the people don’t yet recognize it. But that assumption dismisses the collective wisdom of the people who in the long run control a democracy. Better to pay close attention to what the public is telling us, and fashion policy around that wisdom — rather than operating with blind insistence that one has the received truth.

Source: The American Public and Extreme Policy Positions

If Americans want to find a way to minimize outside special interest influence on Congress which only grows with Congressionl tenure, they should seriously consider supporting TERM LIMITS‼️


Categories: Observations on life

5 replies »

  1. The government leaders have proved time and time again, that they cannot solve any of our problems. Almost all of our quality of life improvements have come from the private sector. The federal government has grown too large for anyone to manage, it is like an out of control wild fire. The best we can hope for is starve it of fuel.
    But this is impossible with the current deficit spending of our government leaders. 19 Trillion in debt and Trillions more in unfunded liabilities, when will this insanity stop, is the question every citizen should be asking our politicians. Term limits will not work, spending limits are the only thing that might save American’s standard of living. Politicians are a foolish bunch, who think government can fix something that is not broken, but when they get done, it will surely be broken. Healthcare reform is the latest example.


  2. My method is described above.

    My point is – the detailed stuff is why we have states and local governments. All Americans know that “one size does not fit all” – that the 330 Million Americans are too diverse to have 535+1 idiots decide what is right for everyone in our everyday lives.


  3. He’s wrong.

    You are wrong as well – term limits won’t work. The problem is generally not so much Congress, as it is two specific issues:
    First, Congress meddles in issues far, far beyond their Congressional duties as outlined in the Constitution, and
    Second, Congress passes laws that are at best a framework, passing along dramatic responsibility to the administrative functions of the executive branch.
    If you deploy term limits, you will cede even more authority to the administrative functions of the executive branch – career bureaucrats.

    Solution: Congress can pass any law it wants so long as it is also required to pass/reject any/all proposed regulations by no less than the same majority who passed the law to begin with (adjustments for death, disability, but not for turnover). So, this will shorten the time frame for legislation – no more guessing about the impact 10+ years out – because all regulations should be in place before the next election (and if Congress wants to be sure, if Congress is concerned that the administrative functions of the executive branch won’t get it right, it can simply add as much detail to the law as it deems appropriate).

    Sure, people want the government to solve problems – but not by creating new issues. They don’t want “solutions” where the cure is worse than the disease. Similarly, there are 330 million Americans with perhaps a few billion different opinions on what government should do, and how it should do it. There is NO consensus of the American public. However, if you want to limit legislation to those items where the American public can achieve consensus, try Constitutional Amendments under Article V – that is what the founders created for us. If you don’t like the limitations of Article V, then amend Article V.

    “… The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress …and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.”

    My two other recommendations are:
    First, give effect to the 10th Amendment, return to the states their appropriate share of the rights envisioned by the founders, (or amend the constitution to make explicit the decision to take away their authority), and
    Second, repeal the 17th Amendment.

    10th Amendment: “… The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people. …”

    17th Amendment: “… The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislatures….”

    Compromise isn’t the right answer, ever. The right answer is one that a solid majority of the public will support. And, if they won’t support it by a solid majority, it should likely not become law. Americans don’t want Congress to “compromise and cooperate more in order to get something done.” They want Congress to get the right things done right AND NO MORE.


    • The “right thing” is in the eye of the beholder! Long term career politicians cannot help but be subject to undo influence.


      • No, that is your point. It is not what Cruz and Sanders behold in their eyes, but it should be limited (from a federal/national perspective) to the majority view per article V. You want simple majority, that belongs to state and local governments, if so provided in their constitutions. You don’t like article V, amend it.


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